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Image: Sludge samples at the research laboratory in the Hong Kong Science Park. Photographer: Anthony Kwan, Bloomberg.

Image: Sludge samples at the research laboratory in the Hong Kong Science Park. Photographer: Anthony Kwan, Bloomberg.

Superbacteria Could One Day Digest Factory Waste

Hong Kong, China: Bacteria can be used to replace chemicals in digesting organic compounds which can reduce the amount of waste sludge generated by up to 80 percent and it also enables 100 percent of water used in the plant to be recycled.

TAL Apparel Limited, a clothes manufacturer in China, has partnered with the City University of Hong Kong to identify bacteria that is able to clean up the vast quantities of wastewater the textile industry produces in a more efficient manner.

Over the past few decades, China has witnessed an exponential industrial growth, leaving behind unbridled pollution caused by industrial activities. Both private and state-owned companies in the country are placing their efforts to find greener alternatives to fix the issue, as the Chinese government cracks down on manufacturers.

TAL Apparel Limited has been purchasing bacteria from laboratories to treat the water used in washing its cloth. When the plant closed for a week to celebrate Chinese New Year in 2017, the bacteria in its system died and the manufacturer decided to set up a research program that uses DNA sequencing to produce a ‘superbacteria’ that would be more efficient and cost-effective.

The researchers hope to develop the superbacteria within two years and the clothes manufacturer will share the technology with other manufacturers. This could translate to more cost savings for manufacturers in other industries too.

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